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“I see a sad procession,
And I hear the sound of coming full-key’d bugles;
All the channels of the city streets they’re flooding,
As with voices and with tears.”

-Walt Whitman:  Citizen of the District of Columbia

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Streets of Washington, written by John DeFerrari, covers some of DC’s most interesting buildings and history. John is the author of Historic Restaurants of Washington, D.C.: Capital Eats, published by the History Press, Inc. and also the author of Lost Washington DC.

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The 100-year-old former Columbia Hospital for Women as it appears today (photo by the author).

The Columbia Hospital for Women and Lying-in Asylum was founded in June 1866 as a “hospital and dispensary for the treatment of diseases peculiar to women, and a lying-in asylum [maternity hospital], in which those unable to pay therefor shall be furnished with board, lodging, medicine, and medical attendance gratuitously.” Located at 25th and M Streets NW, just off of Pennsylvania Avenue, the hospital finally closed its doors in June 2002, ending an eventful 136-year history of serving Washington women from all walks of life.

Hospitals in the 19th century were charitable institutions that supported those who could not afford to have doctors visit them in their homes. Washington at the dawn of the Civil War had virtually none, aside from the recently-founded Saint Elizabeths asylum for the mentally ill in Southeast. Providence Hospital on Capitol Hill, organized by the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul (and profiled in Lost Washington, DC), was the first general public hospital, but it took in mostly war-related cases and could accommodate very few D.C. residents. (more…)

Streets of Washington, written by John DeFerrari, covers some of DC’s most interesting buildings and history. John is the author of Historic Restaurants of Washington, D.C.: Capital Eats, published by the History Press, Inc. and also the author of Lost Washington DC.

Ed. Note: This was originally printed in 2011 but just came across my facebook last week, thanks to John for being kind enough to let us repost this great story here.

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Mary Foote Henderson, circa 1923 (author’s collection).

The Gilded Age, from the 1870s until the 1910s, was a unique period in Washington’s history. The city attracted many nouveaux riches who were drawn by the fact that upper-class Washington society in those days was wide open to anyone with lots of money, a circumstance not found in other major Eastern cities. Of all the wealthy people who moved to Washington to exert power and influence in the Gilded Age, one of the most powerful and influential was a woman, Mary Foote Henderson (1846-1931), who turned her City Beautiful dreams into reality along upper 16th Street. (more…)

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Ed. Note: Awesome logo, yeah?

From Humanities DC:

“The DC Community Heritage Project House History Workshop gives community historians, of any skill or knowledge level, an overview of the related resources at the Historical Society of Washington, DC, the DC Public Library Washingtoniana Division, the DC Archives, and other local repositories. Participants will learn how to research the history of their own home or any other historical property. (more…)

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Thanks to Zach for sending:

“I was counting money one night at the end of my shift at Meridian Pint, and came across a silver certificate. Not very unusual, I have found 20 or so over the years. Then I noticed that this particular bill had a bunch of signatures on both sides. After a little research, I discovered that this is a short snorter — a bill that was signed by members of a flight crew, often in the military. Given the date on the bill of 1935, it’s likely that this was from World War 2. Anyone out there have any suggestions for finding the origin of this particular bill?”

Kevin Sutherland

From WMATA:

“Metro is showcasing photographs captured by Kevin Sutherland, the American University graduate student who was tragically killed aboard a Metrorail train on July 4, 2015, at the NoMa-Gallaudet Station starting today.

Sutherland was a talented photographer who enjoyed taking pictures of Washington, D.C. landmarks. He was traveling with his camera to the National Mall to capture Fourth of July fireworks when he became the victim of a horrific crime.

Working through Metro’s Art in Transit program, Sutherland’s family asked to display some of Kevin’s art, and Metro was pleased to provide the venue.”

Streets of Washington, written by John DeFerrari, covers some of DC’s most interesting buildings and history. John is the author of Historic Restaurants of Washington, D.C.: Capital Eats, published by the History Press, Inc. and also the author of Lost Washington DC.

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The Jo Del Restaurant at 719 9th Street NW (Source: DC Public Library, Star Collection, © Washington Post).

Ninth Street downtown was one of the city’s liveliest entertainment zones in the early years of the 20th century, full of theaters like the Gayety Burlesque, which we’ve previously profiled, and a colorful array of exotic restaurants, bars, and diners. “Everything that ever happened in this city happened there. When you came to town you had to strut up and down Ninth Street or you hadn’t lived,” boxing promoter Goldie Ahearn later recalled. But by the World War II years, this had all begun to change. The theaters and restaurants were still there, but they tended toward the seedy. Many of their patrons were the city’s alienated loners, the gamblers and late-night drinkers, the soldiers and sailors at loose ends who sooner or later ended up causing some kind of trouble. “There are eight million stories in the naked city…” says the narrator of the classic 1948 film noir about New York City. In the case of Washington, this sad story, as told breathlessly by the city’s newspapers, is one of them.

Greek restaurants were once commonplace on 9th Street. Some, like the Athens Restaurant at 804 9th Street were prominent and long-lived, but others, including the small storefront at 719 9th Street, were less reputable. As a Greek coffee house in 1946 it was busted by the vice squad for illegal gambling. Four years later, reincarnated as the “Acropolis Club,” it was shut down again for the same reason. By the late 1950s, the joint had been renamed the Jo Del Grill (or Jo Del Tavern), and this is the place that George P. Kaldes purchased in 1957. Kaldes, a 33-year-old World War II Army veteran of Greek descent, had cashed in a life insurance policy and put up all of his personal savings to gain full ownership of the Jo Del, and in the months after doing so he had been proud that the little place was beginning to show a modest profit. (more…)